A recent report confirmed that following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) a DIY Probate Pack’s Permanent Sale should be cancelled.
In a time of austerity, with more people looking for ways to save money, after life planning resources like DIY Wills and DIY probate services have been on the increase.
One online company have been castigated by the ASA because their do-it-yourself probate kits have been viewed as misleading
The DIY probate pack was advertised at the sale price on £29 on Amazon with a claim that the product would be returned to the original price of £97 once the allotted sale amount had sold.
However, at least one person complained about the distinct lack of clarity provided by the company regarding the sale offer. The company failed to divulge the actual length of the offer, which suggested that the price of £29 was the everyday price and the sale was in fact falsified as a tactic to promote additional sales.
Following a thorough investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority, Berkeley Weston Ltd, based in Leicester, had openly sustained the offer since 2012.
Although the ASA made enquiries to Berkeley Weston Ltd about the offer to the DIY probate pack, they did not respond to requests to prove the actual selling price was £97.
ASA have ruled that any further advertising must avoid the sale promotion as it was clearly misleading and pressuring customers to purchase before they needed to.
The rise in popularity of DIY after life planning solutions also coincides with a sharp increase in contentious probate cases and family inheritance disputes. 2016 saw 158 cases with a further 145 in 2017. This was a sharp increase to 2015 figures of just over 100 cases and highlights the importance of ensuring an up to date Will and probate plan is made before dying.
The growing use of DIY Wills and Probate is partly to blame for the increase in challenges which end up costing £15-£20,000 and taking 12 or more months to resolve, delaying inheritances.
Wills can end in a legal dispute if someone does not think they have been left what they were promised but may be easier to defend if the process was carried out properly.
People understandably want to save money, but this can lead to major problems, as the increase in legal disputes shows. As with anything else you get what you pay for, and a DIY probate or free Will is a false economy.
A properly drafted will is not expensive – getting it wrong is expensive. Don’t take chances with your spouse or family’s future.
Seek professional advice.